PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO THE POLICY GUIDELINES ON GRANTING WATER RIGHTS OVER SURFACE WATER FOR HYDROPOWER PROJECTS REQUIRING MORE THAN 80% DEPENDABLE FLOW
During the 119th Board Meeting, NWRB Resolution No. 03-0613 was issued or the Revised Policy on Granting of Water Rights Over Surface Water for Hydropower Projects which provides that in general, dependable flow of rivers, which is 80% of flow duration shall be used in technical evaluation to determine the available water to be allocated (maximum amount to be granted in the water permit application) and an environmental flow of 10% of the dependable flow shall be retained
For hydropower projects requiring more than 80% dependable flow, Supplemental Policy Guidelines on Granting of Water Rights Over Surface Water for Hydropower Projects Requiring More Than 80 % Dependable Flow and Granting of Increase in Volume for Approved Water Permits was likewise issued on March 19, 2014 during the 128th Board Meeting which provides that for applications requiring flow capacity of more than 80 % dependable flow, environmental/ecological study and sustainability plan shall be submitted to NWRB. The environmental/ecological study and sustainability plan are subject to review and validation and shall be the basis for granting water right to the applicant;
Submission of the ecological study and sustainability plan is a costly and time-consuming process which resulted to the increasing volume of pending Water Permit Applications for hydropower;
The thrust of the Administration is to reduce requirements and processing time of all applications from submission to release in order to ease doing business in government agencies;
Executive Order No 30 entitled “Creating the Energy Investment Coordinating Council In Order to Streamline the Regulatory Procedure Affecting Energy Projects” was issued on June 28, 2017 in recognition of the urgent need to construct additional power plants to accelerate and promote rapid economic growth;
The National Water Resources Board (NWRB) issues Conditional Water Permit/Water Permit for hydropower projects based from water availability computation of 80% of the time dependable flow and upon review of the sustainability plan submitted for applications requiring flow capacity of more than 80 % dependable flow;
In consideration of the need to streamline the regulatory process in support to E.O. No. 30, there is a need to amend the policy guidelines in granting water rights for hydropower projects requiring more than 80% dependable flow;
THEREFORE, the Board proposed to adopt the following amendments to the policy guidelines in granting water rights for hydropower projects requiring more than 80% dependable flow:
- Applications requiring flow capacity of more than 80% dependable flow shall be evaluated technically based initially on the 80 % dependable flow of the river.
- Application shall be processed for the issuance of the Conditional Water Permit (CWP) with a discharge granted based on the 80% dependable flow of the river. The CWP shall be valid for a period of two (2) years.
- The CWP holder shall submit the ecological/environmental study and sustainability plan within a year after the approval of the CWP. Non-compliance shall mean automatic revocation of the CWP.
- The NWRB shall re-evaluate the amount to be granted in the water permit based on the project’s requirement of more than 80% dependable flow. In case the CWP holder cannot comply with the necessary documentary requirements within the validity period, he/she may request for an extension but will be restricted to a one-year period only.
- The NWRB shall review and evaluate the submitted documents and recommend to the Board the final volume of water to be appropriated based on the more than 80% dependable flow to the CWP grantee;
- The Water Permit shall be issued indicating the approved discharge corresponding to the flow capacity of more than 80% dependable flow.
- The implementation of this policy shall be subject for verification with the existing policies of DOE with regards to the issuance of COCs.